The Life of Animals | Chuckwalla | Chuckwallas are large lizards found primarily in arid regions of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. There are five species of chuckwallas, all within the genus Sauromalus; They are part of the iguanid family, Iguanidae. The generic name, Sauromalus, is a combination of two Ancient Greek words: σαῦρος (sauros) meaning "lizard". and ομαλυς (omalus) meaning "flat Chuckwalla The common name derives from the Shoshone word" tcaxxwal "or Cahuilla" caxwal ", transcribed by Spaniards as" chacahuala

Chuckwallas are a stocky wide-bodied lizard with a flattened midsection and prominent belly. The Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus Ater) measures 40 cm in length whereas insular Such species as the giant of San Esteban Island Chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius) can measure as much as 76 cm in total length. They are sexually dimorphic with males having reddish-pink to orange, yellow or light gray bodies and black heads, shoulders and Limbs; females and the immature have bodies with Scattered spots or contrasting bands of light and dark in shades of gray or yellow Males are Generally larger than females and possess well-developed femoral pores located on the inner sides of Their thighs; these pores Produce secretions believed to play a role in marking territory

The genus Sauromalus has a wide distribution in biomes of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts The Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus Ater) is the species with the greatest range, found from southern California east to southern Nevada and Utah, western Arizona and south to Baja California and Northwestern Mexico The Peninsular Chuckwalla (Sauromalus australis) is found on the eastern portion of the southern half of the Baja California peninsula

The other species are island-dwelling and therefore have much more restricted distributions. The Angel Island Chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus) is found on Isla Ángel de la Guarda and Surrounding islands off the coast of the Baja California peninsula Two rare and endangered species are the Montserrat Chuckwalla (Sauromalus slevini) found on Islas Carmen, Coronados and Montserrat in the southern Gulf of California and the San Esteban Chuckwalla or Painted Chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius) found on San Esteban Island, Lobos and Pelicanos. The eggs hatch in late September Chuckwallas may live for 25 years or more.

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